Aims: To determine the number and rates of work-related fatal injuries by employment status, occupation, industry, age and gender in New Zealand 1985-1994.
Methods: Potential cases of work-related injury deaths of persons aged 15-84 years were identified from the national electronic mortality data files. Main exclusions were deaths due to suicide and deaths due to motor vehicle crashes. The circumstances of the deaths of each fatal incident meeting inclusion criteria were then reviewed directly from coronial files to determine work-relatedness.
Results: The rate of work-related fatal injury in New Zealand was 5.03/100000 workers per year for the study period. There was a significant decline in crude rate over the study period. However, this was in substantial part accounted for by changes in occupation and industry mix. Older workers, male workers, self-employed workers, and particular occupational groups, all had substantially elevated rates. Agricultural and helicopter pilots, forestry workers and fishery workers had the highest rates. Farmers, forestry workers, and fishery workers also had high numbers of deaths, together accounting for nearly 40% of all deaths.
Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that work-related fatal injury remains a pressing problem for New Zealand. Several areas in urgent need of prevention efforts were highlighted.